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Inside out

Love to overhaul people’s homes and redo everything? Interior designing then might just be your calling. Shriya Ghate reports

education Updated: May 23, 2012, 11:37 IST
Shriya Ghate
Shriya Ghate
Hindustan Times

A quaint little studio in a Mahim bylane in Mumbai, has the formidable reputation of being a creative powerhouse when it comes to architecture and design. It belongs to Kunal Edwankar, an interior designer in his own right. Things have, however, not come easy to Edwankar who followed up his interest in the subject with a degree in architecture from Rizvi College in Bandra. Interior design at that time was part of the curriculum for architecture, and not a discipline by itself. Ten years ago, Edwankar started his company, Key Designs.

He takes both ends of the spectrum into consideration, designing a 450 sq ft home with as much of passion as he would a 4000 sq ft home. Designing homes in India, he feels, is "far more challenging because of the space constraints. You need to justify every square inch of design," he says.

What further adds to the challenge is that today more Indians – than ever before – are exposed to the international design scenario, says Swati Pandya Sood, a Delhi-based interior designer. “We need to educate ourselves on every pattern of lifestyle designing to satisfy the taste of a much-travelled client.” Moreover, a designer is required to "bridge the gap between a client’s taste and an appropriate design," she says.

“Now, there are opportunities galore both in self employment and jobs and one can make decent money after a few years in the industry... Interior designing will be ahead of several other professions in the coming years, “ says Lipika Sud, chairwoman of the Institute of Indian Interior Designers (Delhi regional chapter), a professional body.

“Things are definitely looking up for the interior designing industry, but a lot also depends on the individual,” says Edwankar. He says that the current generation of interior designers must look at creating environmentally friendly designs, which will not only look good, but will also be practical. He also warns that interior designing is not just about glamour and money. The professional needs to work hard and be dedicated to success in this field. New entrants should be careful not to be just interior decorators, but should strive to be interior designers,” he concludes.

With inputs from
Pranab Ghosh and Vimal Chander Joshi

What’s it about?
Interior design is concerned with the elements inside a home, such as windows, walls, lights, furniture, etc. It is an amalgamation of architecture, product design as well as decoration aesthetics

Interior designers work on a variety of spaces including residential areas,industrial areas, retail areas, entertainment spaces such as malls, hotels and cafes, etc. They may be self-employed or attached to a company. They are required to understand the client’s needs, while using their own ingenuity to design comfortable spaces, which have both practical as well as aesthetic appeal. Interior designers also have to work with a team of contractors and workers to execute the project

Clock Work
7.30 am: Wake up
8-8.30 am: Have breakfast and get ready
9.30 am: Make calls to contractors and others on the site
10.30-11 am: Go on site visits or meet clients
1.30-2 pm: Lunch
3 pm onwards: Work on the drawing board
8 - 9 pm: Workout at the gym
10.30 pm: Return home
11 pm: Dinner
12.30-1 am: Surf channels or the Internet before going to bed

The payoff
Freshers start with anything between Rs 3000 to Rs 8000 a month As project manager, s/he can expect to earn anything in the range of Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 a month. If attached to a company, s/he can also receive perks such as a car, accommodation, etc Upwards from the position of a project manager, a designer may make any amount, depending on the client and the scope of work

Minimum knowledge of architecture and an aptitude for product design
Drawing and designing skills are a must, but candidates also need to have technical knowledge regarding the latest software required in designing as well as the latest additions in home improvement products
Networking and interpersonal skills to get projects. A designer should be resourceful, and know where to get furniture and decorative items

How do i get there?
Most colleges offering interior design courses require the candidate to be 10+2-pass. The candidate may also be required to clear an entrance test for drawing and designing skills. Candidates need to show to the college a portfolio of work that displays their drawing skills as well as ideas

Institutes & urls
National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad
LS Raheja School of Architecture, Mumbai
Rachana Sansad School of Applied Art and Craft, Mumbai
Exterior-Interiors, Delhi
Raffles Design International, Delhi
Apeejay Institute of Design, Delhi
Polytechnics such as Mirabai Women’s Polytechnic and South Delhi Polytechnic for Women offer interior designing courses

Pros & Cons
Meet people from all walks of life, including celebrities
Timings can be flexible but unpredictable when projects are on
Use the latest technology in home improvement products and appliances
The profession still does not gets its due
Getting projects may be tough if you aren’t affiliated to a company

Be patient and work hard

An industry insider talks about the scope interior designing offers a new entrant and the key quality for survival

How is the interior designing industry doing?
The industry isn’t doing very well due to the recession. Things are looking up after the budget, but it will still be three to four months before things pick up again. Projects are available, but not as many as there used to be earlier. Top designers are also finding the situation a little difficult.

What is the scope for new entrants?
There is good scope for new entrants who join established companies where there is, hopefully, more stability because of the brand name.

When it comes to exposure and experience, there is a lot that fresh designers can learn, but the pay scales are not as high as they used to be and so they may have to struggle a bit at the start.

Do aspiring interior designers have to take up any specific course?
Apart from regular interior designing courses available in architecture and design colleges, there are lots of new ones coming up. For example, Asian Paints offers a Colour Consultant course, whereby one can specialise in how colours can be used.

What is your advice to youngsters?
The most important advice I can give is that you need patience in this profession. In order to be known in the field, you have to work hard and gain experience.

Interviewed by Shriya Ghate

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